Is Law School a Losing Game?

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ResolutePear
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby ResolutePear » Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:29 pm

ScottRiqui wrote:
Drake014 wrote:
tkgrrett wrote:
hmm.. good find. I knew I should not have had faith in our journalists.


Isn't it sad when we do more checking than the person who wrote the article?

JazzOne wrote:
ScottRiqui wrote:So in short, I guess I'd have to go the "biglaw or bust" route, not because I want "models and bottles" or to drive a Bentley, but because the skewed nature of law salaries means that biglaw is just about the only way that law becomes a better financial option than the ones I already have.

+1

A lot of people get criticized on these forums for the "biglaw or bust" mentality, but when tuition is so freakin' high, I don't see any other way to make law school a profitable decision.


LRAP. But yeah, I get your point. And yeah, I'm heading to Biglaw myself it would seem.


LRAP and similar loan-forgiveness programs are fine, if you're taking out loans and you really didn't have any prospects for pulling down > $50k/year without law school. But if you have no loans for the government to pay off and you passed up a career in another field that would have paid $80-90k/year without any additional schooling, all you're left with if you don't get Biglaw is a low-paying job and three years' worth of lost income. And that's if you can still get into the field that you passed up in order to go to law school in the first place.


That's the thing-

You should go to school because law is your "preferred" field. I could really care less if I start off making 50k, minus taxes and loans.. 36k. That's fine. It won't be that much forever. Personally, I like the fact that I always have the choice of setting up my own legal practice - as ill-prepared I might be... unless I do a local clerkship or something of the like.

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iamcutdacheck
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby iamcutdacheck » Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:36 pm

JG Hall wrote:You live rent-free and still can't come up with any cash to start paying down your loans? You're a moron. Start bartending or something.


Exactly. You would think you would learn how to hustle in law school.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby ResolutePear » Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:38 pm

iamcutdacheck wrote:
JG Hall wrote:You live rent-free and still can't come up with any cash to start paying down your loans? You're a moron. Start bartending or something.


Exactly. You would think you would learn how to hustle in law school.


School is no substitute for real life.

Hustling is not bartending or "something."

Hustling is going door-to-door in 100 degree weather trying to sell dog-shoe cleaner in the inner city.

MrAnon
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby MrAnon » Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:51 pm

The issue here is not that this kid went to TJ school of law or that the CLS guy is obviously not hustling. The issue is that law school admissions is a form of sophistry and every applicant gets played.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby ScottRiqui » Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:51 pm

ResolutePear wrote:
That's the thing-

You should go to school because law is your "preferred" field. I could really care less if I start off making 50k, minus taxes and loans.. 36k. That's fine. It won't be that much forever. Personally, I like the fact that I always have the choice of setting up my own legal practice - as ill-prepared I might be... unless I do a local clerkship or something of the like.


The idea of a "preferred field" is sort of foreign to me. I've done a lot of different things during my time in the Navy (operated a nuclear reactor, been shot off the pointy end of an aircraft carrier a few hundred times, been a flight instructor, gone to school for a physics master's degree, been a legal officer, etcetera). And I've enjoyed all of those jobs thoroughly. It's in my personality that I can be happy almost anywhere regardless of the external circumstances. I can't say that I "have a passion for law" (whatever that would mean for someone that hasn't even been to law school), but I find the idea of it interesting and it appeals to my sense of order and structure, so it has that going for it.

And while I know that you can work your way up from a 50k/year legal job, I'd rather not spend three years not working and then start off at 80k/year less than what I'm making now - at my age, that doesn't make a lot of sense. Unless I choose to keep working well into my 70s, I only have about 20 years or so after I retire from the Navy in which to pursue my second career.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby ResolutePear » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:00 pm

ScottRiqui wrote:
ResolutePear wrote:
That's the thing-

You should go to school because law is your "preferred" field. I could really care less if I start off making 50k, minus taxes and loans.. 36k. That's fine. It won't be that much forever. Personally, I like the fact that I always have the choice of setting up my own legal practice - as ill-prepared I might be... unless I do a local clerkship or something of the like.


The idea of a "preferred field" is sort of foreign to me. I've done a lot of different things during my time in the Navy (operated a nuclear reactor, been shot off the pointy end of an aircraft carrier a few hundred times, been a flight instructor, gone to school for a physics master's degree, been a legal officer, etcetera). And I've enjoyed all of those jobs thoroughly. It's in my personality that I can be happy almost anywhere regardless of the external circumstances. I can't say that I "have a passion for law" (whatever that would mean for someone that hasn't even been to law school), but I find the idea of it interesting and it appeals to my sense of order and structure, so it has that going for it.

And while I know that you can work your way up from a 50k/year legal job, I'd rather not spend three years not working and then start off at 80k/year less than what I'm making now - at my age, that doesn't make a lot of sense. Unless I choose to keep working well into my 70s, I only have about 20 years or so after I retire from the Navy in which to pursue my second career.


Just saying, it's always a possibility. I obviously wouldn't mind a 160k step-pay job, either and that's exactly what I'm aiming for.

Since you have a background in Physics and don't really care where you end up, just curious if you thought about med school? It'd seem like doctors with their own practices don't mind working well into their 70's.

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verklempt
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby verklempt » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:16 pm

My family member who graduated from HLS last May just started working in October in big law. Many of his classmates are not working yet; some have jobs but have been "deferred" for a longer period of time than he was. Which puts them in limbo. Re the loans: I don't know if this is standard for Harvard, but he has a deal where if his income is below a certain level, they forgive part of the loan. Eventually the loan goes away. Thus, people who take public sector jobs aren't stuck with an unsurmountable amount of debt.

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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby rundoxierun » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:21 pm

verklempt wrote:My family member who graduated from HLS last May just started working in October in big law. Many of his classmates are not working yet; some have jobs but have been "deferred" for a longer period of time than he was. Which puts them in limbo. Re the loans: I don't know if this is standard for Harvard, but he has a deal where if his income is below a certain level, they forgive part of the loan. Eventually the loan goes away. Thus, people who take public sector jobs aren't stuck with an unsurmountable amount of debt.


Yes, that is standard at all of HYS. The deferrals are pretty standard too b/c of the economy.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby ResolutePear » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:21 pm

verklempt wrote:My family member who graduated from HLS last May just started working in October in big law. Many of his classmates are not working yet; some have jobs but have been "deferred" for a longer period of time than he was. Which puts them in limbo. Re the loans: I don't know if this is standard for Harvard, but he has a deal where if his income is below a certain level, they forgive part of the loan. Eventually the loan goes away. Thus, people who take public sector jobs aren't stuck with an unsurmountable amount of debt.


LRAP.

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NZA
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby NZA » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:24 pm

ResolutePear wrote:
verklempt wrote:My family member who graduated from HLS last May just started working in October in big law. Many of his classmates are not working yet; some have jobs but have been "deferred" for a longer period of time than he was. Which puts them in limbo. Re the loans: I don't know if this is standard for Harvard, but he has a deal where if his income is below a certain level, they forgive part of the loan. Eventually the loan goes away. Thus, people who take public sector jobs aren't stuck with an unsurmountable amount of debt.


LRAP.


I hope this doesn't sound like an ignorant question, but...

...if you are a judicial clerk, it seems like most LRAPs do not apply to you. Why is that? And how do clerks pay for their loans for the time that they are clerking? :?

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ResolutePear
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby ResolutePear » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:27 pm

NZA wrote:
ResolutePear wrote:
verklempt wrote:My family member who graduated from HLS last May just started working in October in big law. Many of his classmates are not working yet; some have jobs but have been "deferred" for a longer period of time than he was. Which puts them in limbo. Re the loans: I don't know if this is standard for Harvard, but he has a deal where if his income is below a certain level, they forgive part of the loan. Eventually the loan goes away. Thus, people who take public sector jobs aren't stuck with an unsurmountable amount of debt.


LRAP.


I hope this doesn't sound like an ignorant question, but...

...if you are a judicial clerk, it seems like most LRAPs do not apply to you. Why is that? And how do clerks pay for their loans for the time that they are clerking? :?


I believe IBR still works.

Clerking doesn't apply because firms, schools, and clients(government included) WANT you if you have certain types of clerkship experiences. You're pretty much set, provided you don't fuck it up.

rundoxierun
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby rundoxierun » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:28 pm

NZA wrote:
I hope this doesn't sound like an ignorant question, but...

...if you are a judicial clerk, it seems like most LRAPs do not apply to you. Why is that? And how do clerks pay for their loans for the time that they are clerking? :?

Not a sily question at all.. I only know how it works at HYS. At those schools, you can take out an LRAP loan to cover loans and if you take an LRAP qualifying job after the clerkship then the loan is forgiven. If not, it must be repaid. LRAPs tend not to cover clerkships b/c clerkships, at least at the schools with high quality LRAPs, are stepping stones to high-paying jobs and bonuses.

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NZA
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby NZA » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:31 pm

@ResolutePear and tkgrrett,

I see...so if you do a clerkship for a year or whatever, and then get a public interest job, you can apply for LRAP then, I'm assuming?

I'd really like to work as a prosecutor someday, so I'm trying to get a sense of the LRAP programs at the schools I'm applying to. I guess it makes sense that a clerk wouldn't be eligible for LRAP if they were just going to hop on over to BigLaw after their service. I didn't realize that people who wanted to do BigLaw did clerkships, first.

Thanks for the help, though!

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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby rundoxierun » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:35 pm

NZA wrote:@ResolutePear and tkgrrett,

I see...so if you do a clerkship for a year or whatever, and then get a public interest job, you can apply for LRAP then, I'm assuming?

I'd really like to work as a prosecutor someday, so I'm trying to get a sense of the LRAP programs at the schools I'm applying to. I guess it makes sense that a clerk wouldn't be eligible for LRAP if they were just going to hop on over to BigLaw after their service. I didn't realize that people who wanted to do BigLaw did clerkships, first.

Thanks for the help, though!


Depends on the school.. non-HYS LRAPs have an incredible amount of stipulations and often force you to commit to to federal IBR or work for a long period of time in eligible employment before they start forgiving anything. IMO, you should really watch your loans even if you plan on using LRAP at non-HYS schools. Some really lock you into eligible employment and the ones using IBR effectively lock you in for the full 10 years.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby ResolutePear » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:37 pm

NZA wrote:@ResolutePear and tkgrrett,

I see...so if you do a clerkship for a year or whatever, and then get a public interest job, you can apply for LRAP then, I'm assuming?

I'd really like to work as a prosecutor someday, so I'm trying to get a sense of the LRAP programs at the schools I'm applying to. I guess it makes sense that a clerk wouldn't be eligible for LRAP if they were just going to hop on over to BigLaw after their service. I didn't realize that people who wanted to do BigLaw did clerkships, first.

Thanks for the help, though!


That's a question that depends on the school as it varies between schools according to the research I did.

Clerking for Article III courts is definitely a great way to start a career aiming for Big Law, and if you tell firms this - I've heard of instances where the firm will just defer you until you're done.

If I landed an Article III clerkship, my next stop would probably be an attempt for professorship since schools too like to have that sort of caliber teaching their classes.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby ResolutePear » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:41 pm

tkgrrett wrote:
NZA wrote:@ResolutePear and tkgrrett,

I see...so if you do a clerkship for a year or whatever, and then get a public interest job, you can apply for LRAP then, I'm assuming?

I'd really like to work as a prosecutor someday, so I'm trying to get a sense of the LRAP programs at the schools I'm applying to. I guess it makes sense that a clerk wouldn't be eligible for LRAP if they were just going to hop on over to BigLaw after their service. I didn't realize that people who wanted to do BigLaw did clerkships, first.

Thanks for the help, though!


Depends on the school.. non-HYS LRAPs have an incredible amount of stipulations and often force you to commit to to federal IBR or work for a long period of time in eligible employment before they start forgiving anything. IMO, you should really watch your loans even if you plan on using LRAP at non-HYS schools. Some really lock you into eligible employment and the ones using IBR effectively lock you in for the full 10 years.


This.

It's pretty much for this scenario:

You have ADA's with 3 years of experience. Chances are better than not they can go to the private sector and make 80k vs. 50k. Therefore retention would be very, very low when factoring in loans. You're talking about 45k vs. 25k after it's all said and done. With IBR, that gap closes to 45k vs. 35k with 10-year forgiveness instead of having to wait it out 20-years.

Schools help a bit more with this through LRAP.

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brickman
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby brickman » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:46 pm

Is there good data on how our tuition is being spent? Is it just going to the construction of increasingly unnecessarily nice buildings? Honest to god, I need to understand how the hell they can justify the cost beyond the blanket statement that it is just "the price you pay for a graduate degree".

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JazzOne
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby JazzOne » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:52 pm

Drake014 wrote:
tkgrrett wrote:
hmm.. good find. I knew I should not have had faith in our journalists.


Isn't it sad when we do more checking than the person who wrote the article?

JazzOne wrote:
ScottRiqui wrote:So in short, I guess I'd have to go the "biglaw or bust" route, not because I want "models and bottles" or to drive a Bentley, but because the skewed nature of law salaries means that biglaw is just about the only way that law becomes a better financial option than the ones I already have.

+1

A lot of people get criticized on these forums for the "biglaw or bust" mentality, but when tuition is so freakin' high, I don't see any other way to make law school a profitable decision.


LRAP. But yeah, I get your point. And yeah, I'm heading to Biglaw myself it would seem.

The thing is, the loans are not dischargeable. I don't care what kind of programs are in place, I'm not going to bank on someone else paying the loans that I signed for. I'm sure LRAP has worked out for a lot of people, but I honestly don't even know if my school has LRAP. I don't really care either. I'll find a job, and I'll pay my loans.

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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby lackadaisy » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:53 pm

Does anyone know the typical costs of loan forgiveness for the federal government (and, transitively, taxpayers)? I'm not talking about LRAP, obviously, I'm talking about the policy that makes the entitled prestige junkie in the article think his loans will go away. I was surprised that this wasn't talked about more by the NYT (in that respect it's a thoroughly unimpressive bit of journalism).

I'm surprised by the vitriol against the "limit # of law schools" position. Why would society want a significantly higher number of law school graduation berths than jobs? I understand that some people are very supportive of the free market, but more-limited accreditation would be a policy correction to an existing market failure (which, yes, is caused by lending policies with poorly distributed risk... but we might want to hang on to those policies for equity reasons). Limited accreditation works for medical schools, I believe -- it makes them harder to get into and easier to pay off once you graduate. As the child of a doctor who now makes 300k a year in family practice, working ~45 hours a week, despite a no-name medical school & residency program, I'm disheartened that a similar stable, upper-middle-class option doesn't really exist in law -- you can 'make it' in big law or you can 'sacrifice' in public interest law or you can flail like the CLS guy in the article. I'd love to hear an analysis about why we wouldn't expect higher legal standards as well as higher salaries in the legal profession if a similar route to the AMA's were pursued by ABA.

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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby JazzOne » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:53 pm

brickman wrote:Is there good data on how our tuition is being spent? Is it just going to the construction of increasingly unnecessarily nice buildings? Honest to god, I need to understand how the hell they can justify the cost beyond the blanket statement that it is just "the price you pay for a graduate degree".

They justify it by the fact that thousands and thousands of people are willing to pay and the government makes it possible for them to borrow ridiculous sums of money.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby ResolutePear » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:55 pm

brickman wrote:Is there good data on how our tuition is being spent? Is it just going to the construction of increasingly unnecessarily nice buildings? Honest to god, I need to understand how the hell they can justify the cost beyond the blanket statement that it is just "the price you pay for a graduate degree".


Nobody is forcing you to attend a particular school. If you don't agree with the tuition, you can easily go elsewhere. If it doesn't make financial sense to do so, then it's not as bad as it seems.

Making nice buildings and such, from what I understand, is derived from the university endowments. Tuition is for the operating costs of the school - as in huge libraries need to be kept up better than those schools that use loopholes to get ABA accredited with sub-standard libraries, for instance.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby ResolutePear » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:00 pm

lackadaisy wrote:Does anyone know the typical costs of loan forgiveness for the federal government (and, transitively, taxpayers)? I'm not talking about LRAP, obviously, I'm talking about the policy that makes the entitled prestige junkie in the article think his loans will go away. I was surprised that this wasn't talked about more by the NYT (in that respect it's a thoroughly unimpressive bit of journalism).

I'm surprised by the vitriol against the "limit # of law schools" position. Why would society want a significantly higher number of law school graduation berths than jobs? I understand that some people are very supportive of the free market, but more-limited accreditation would be a policy correction to an existing market failure (which, yes, is caused by lending policies with poorly distributed risk... but we might want to hang on to those policies for equity reasons). Limited accreditation works for medical schools, I believe -- it makes them harder to get into and easier to pay off once you graduate. As the child of a doctor who now makes 300k a year in family practice, working ~45 hours a week, despite a no-name medical school & residency program, I'm disheartened that a similar stable, upper-middle-class option doesn't really exist in law -- you can 'make it' in big law or you can 'sacrifice' in public interest law or you can flail like the CLS guy in the article. I'd love to hear an analysis about why we wouldn't expect higher legal standards as well as higher salaries in the legal profession if a similar route to the AMA's were pursued by ABA.


The government is like the house in the context of a casino. The house never loses.

Say the federal government forgave 100 grand on a student loan. So what? The guy's in a 20-30% tax bracket and the government WILL make that back through FICA. There's no cost to taxpayers.

State universities on the other hand are supported by taxpayers. You can make the argument that allowing students to major in anything other than math or science is a waste of taxpayer money and should be paid in full by the students.

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NZA
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby NZA » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:08 pm

ResolutePear wrote:
tkgrrett wrote:
NZA wrote:@ResolutePear and tkgrrett,

I see...so if you do a clerkship for a year or whatever, and then get a public interest job, you can apply for LRAP then, I'm assuming?

I'd really like to work as a prosecutor someday, so I'm trying to get a sense of the LRAP programs at the schools I'm applying to. I guess it makes sense that a clerk wouldn't be eligible for LRAP if they were just going to hop on over to BigLaw after their service. I didn't realize that people who wanted to do BigLaw did clerkships, first.

Thanks for the help, though!


Depends on the school.. non-HYS LRAPs have an incredible amount of stipulations and often force you to commit to to federal IBR or work for a long period of time in eligible employment before they start forgiving anything. IMO, you should really watch your loans even if you plan on using LRAP at non-HYS schools. Some really lock you into eligible employment and the ones using IBR effectively lock you in for the full 10 years.


This.

It's pretty much for this scenario:

You have ADA's with 3 years of experience. Chances are better than not they can go to the private sector and make 80k vs. 50k. Therefore retention would be very, very low when factoring in loans. You're talking about 45k vs. 25k after it's all said and done. With IBR, that gap closes to 45k vs. 35k with 10-year forgiveness instead of having to wait it out 20-years.

Schools help a bit more with this through LRAP.


Okay, I'm kind of understanding this slightly more. So with IBR, you pay loans for ten years based on your income, and if you are a public servant, your loans are forgiven after ten years.

So theoretically, you can work in government for ten years, have your loans forgiven, and then switch to the private sector?

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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby DoubleChecks » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:10 pm

ResolutePear wrote:
brickman wrote:Is there good data on how our tuition is being spent? Is it just going to the construction of increasingly unnecessarily nice buildings? Honest to god, I need to understand how the hell they can justify the cost beyond the blanket statement that it is just "the price you pay for a graduate degree".


Nobody is forcing you to attend a particular school. If you don't agree with the tuition, you can easily go elsewhere. If it doesn't make financial sense to do so, then it's not as bad as it seems.

Making nice buildings and such, from what I understand, is derived from the university endowments. Tuition is for the operating costs of the school - as in huge libraries need to be kept up better than those schools that use loopholes to get ABA accredited with sub-standard libraries, for instance.


i think the problem is that a lot of schools...all have that hefty tuition tag, regardless of ranking or job prospects haha

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ResolutePear
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby ResolutePear » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:13 pm

NZA wrote:
ResolutePear wrote:
tkgrrett wrote:
NZA wrote:@ResolutePear and tkgrrett,

I see...so if you do a clerkship for a year or whatever, and then get a public interest job, you can apply for LRAP then, I'm assuming?

I'd really like to work as a prosecutor someday, so I'm trying to get a sense of the LRAP programs at the schools I'm applying to. I guess it makes sense that a clerk wouldn't be eligible for LRAP if they were just going to hop on over to BigLaw after their service. I didn't realize that people who wanted to do BigLaw did clerkships, first.

Thanks for the help, though!


Depends on the school.. non-HYS LRAPs have an incredible amount of stipulations and often force you to commit to to federal IBR or work for a long period of time in eligible employment before they start forgiving anything. IMO, you should really watch your loans even if you plan on using LRAP at non-HYS schools. Some really lock you into eligible employment and the ones using IBR effectively lock you in for the full 10 years.


This.

It's pretty much for this scenario:

You have ADA's with 3 years of experience. Chances are better than not they can go to the private sector and make 80k vs. 50k. Therefore retention would be very, very low when factoring in loans. You're talking about 45k vs. 25k after it's all said and done. With IBR, that gap closes to 45k vs. 35k with 10-year forgiveness instead of having to wait it out 20-years.

Schools help a bit more with this through LRAP.


Okay, I'm kind of understanding this slightly more. So with IBR, you pay loans for ten years based on your income, and if you are a public servant, your loans are forgiven after ten years.

So theoretically, you can work in government for ten years, have your loans forgiven, and then switch to the private sector?


Yep. You can be on IBR in the private sector, too - but it's 20-years instead of 10-years. It makes it pretty even in the aforementioned scenario.

As laughable as it is, the forgiveness is taxable too. If they forgive 100k, you might need to take out a loan to pay the taxes. :D




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